British columnist and author Allison Pearson, who said that lockdown doesn’t save lives, started 2021 with a tweet, asking about how Wuhan has managed to get the coronavirus under control.

Well, Wuhan was placed under a strict lockdown—public transport was suspended, school re-openings after the winter vacation were delayed, and population movements were severely curtailed. Dozens of cities in the entire Hubei Province implemented family outdoor restrictions, which typically meant that only one member of each household was permitted to leave the home every couple of days to collect necessary supplies. Also, China set up an effective national system of contact tracing, managing to test 9 million people for SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan within weeks. Not to mention drones equipped with loudspeakers patrolling the streets. The list goes on.

But those are just the facts. Sam Bowman, on the other hand, decided to answer Pearson’s question with poetry. He crafted his reply using the headlines of her own articles as statements. Since then, over 120,000 people have “liked” Bowman’s response, and someone even re-uploaded it to the subreddit Murdered by Words, where it is going viral too.

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Bowman had seen most of Pearson’s similar “gems” throughout the year and knew they were bad, but hadn’t appreciated just how bad until he put them all together. “That made her Wuhan tweet seem absolutely bizarre to me—she seemed to have no conception of how her actions might have affected our own (very poor) response to Covid in the UK,” he told Bored Panda.

Pearson definitely noticed the thread. She wasn’t very fond of it too. “She sent one tweet saying that she didn’t, in fact, disagree with the things I’d said she did. I thought that was strange because all the pieces I’d quoted showed that she did—I had the receipts. Then she blocked me,” Bowman said.

This thread doesn’t mean Bowman is entirely happy with the way the country has reacted to Covid. “Sadly, the UK government has been pretty bad at tackling the pandemic. It’s repeatedly waited way too long to bring in measures it’s needed to, meaning that when it eventually has brought them in, case numbers and deaths were already locked in to be extremely high,” the man shared his thoughts on the situation. “It didn’t do the bare minimum to prevent Covid from re-emerging when cases were low over the summer, and, in fact, actually encouraged people to go out to restaurants and go on foreign holidays over the summer, which ended up increasing case numbers and with people bringing back lots of cases from abroad. It hasn’t even required foreign visitors to have a negative test to enter the country or required that they quarantine when they enter the UK, which has meant that if new strains do arise abroad, like the South African one, we will be exposed.” You can learn more about what he means here.

“A lot of people like Pearson said very stupid things all year, and they’ve been shown to be catastrophically wrong about Covid,” Bowman said, adding that he details some of these in the link above. “Now that it’s clear how bad things are, we need to highlight what they said and embarrass them so they feel some consequences for having been so wrong in such a reckless and irresponsible way.”

After the thread went viral, Allison retweeted this tweet

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As a person who comes from a country that spent 50 years under the Soviet Union occupation, I can’t help but smile with irony when Pearson’s supporters call their government “a totalitarian police state” because it is trying to help its citizens during a global pandemic.

But I guess rhetoric is the only counter-attack they have left in this situation?

Speaking of totalitarianism, when Pearson responded to a BBC article about the risk of coronavirus spreading in universities, she tweeted that she “wanted” students to get the virus to “speed us towards herd immunity.”

This tweet led to her account being suspended for a day—despite her insisting this view reflected the opinions of scientists including Oxford’s Prof. Sunetra Gupta and the Nobel Prize winner Prof. Michael Levitt.

Both scientists have criticized the government’s lockdown too, with Gupta arguing that restrictions weaken the immune system and leave people vulnerable to future pandemics.

That’s quite the U-turn in Pearson’s opinions on the pandemic.

In the early days, she criticized young people branding them “Generation Me” and urged them to practice social distancing and suggested they would “start whingeing about how ‘stressy’ it all is when the authorities try to curtail their freedom to even a minor degree.”

Who knows, maybe she will do another one after Bowman’s thread as well.

Here is what people said after reading Bowman’s thread

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